Tag: Limestone Coast

St Mary’s Pinot Noir 2013

St Mary’s make some very good cabernet and shiraz, as is witnessed by my previous reviews.  This wine’s a pinot noir from the same terroir.  Now, you don’t see a lot of pinot noir in Coonawarra.  That the two might go together is not as non-sequitur as it might seem looking at the statistics.  For example, Coonawarra has a mean January temperature of 19.9, Gladstones E degree days of 1379 and sunshine hours per day of 7.5, which is thereabouts to the lower Yarra Valley, whose stats are MJT 19.4, Eo 1463 and SH 7.4, but with a bit more altitude and a lot more rain.  In the glass though, this wine is pleasant, regional, but is not varietal.  It has aromatics of eucalyptus, spearmint and cedar.  The palate is similar, balanced but again not immediately pinot noir.  What’s really interesting is just how much the substantial and unique Coonawarra terroir shines through, even through the lens of a different grape variety.  The Burgundians, who in my experience repeated the phrase “it is not about the grapes, it is their ability to communicate this place, this terroir” every fourteen seconds or so, would be proud.

Abv: 14%, Price: $35, Source: sample, Vendors and website: http://stmaryswines.com, Tasted: 2015

St Mary’s Shiraz 2013

St Mary’s in Penola produce a pretty good shiraz too, in addition to their cabernet sauvignon.  Their 2013 shiraz has a sinewy thoughtful character that appeals.  Its aromatics remind of plums and dried scrub (apologies to my non-Australian readers).  The palate is balanced, medium bodied, and has characters that remind of twigs, tea trees and plums.  Earthy may be a more elegant summation.  I rather starkly wrote “cellar for 8”, but re-reading this suggestion now, this comes across as rather too certain given the difficulty in predicting how wine might actually cellar.  I think better advice would be to give it a few years in the cellar, and otherwise decant it prior to serving.  Good

Abv: 13.5%, Price: $30, Source: sample, Vendors and website: http://www.stmaryswine.com, Tasted: 2015

St Mary’s House Block Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

This is another good release cabernet sauvignon from St Mary’s winery in Penola, where a Coonawarra cabernet sauvignon is produced in all but name.  The 2013 vintage has aromatics of eucalyptus, clove and a touch of cardamom.  The palate builds substantially with air, developing between medium and long length and licorice and blackberry flavours.  All parts of this wine are in balance, and I would suggest that this wine will cellar well for years.  G-VG

Abv: 14%, Price: $30, Source: sample, Vendors and website: http://stmaryswines.com, Tasted: 2015

St Mary’s Carillon 2013

St Mary’s is a winery that exhibits – to taste – all the hallmarks of Coonwarra’s classic terra rossa soils, yet for reasons which appear more overthought than sensible, it finds itself sitting in the lesser known Limestone Coast region.  Upon learning of the Coonawarra boundary dispute – which St Mary’s fell on the other side of – my initial thought was how hard can it be to draw a geographical indication (GI) boundary?  Quite hard it turns out!  This well written article outlines in exquisite detail exactly why.

My thoughts?  Coonawarra is a unique region in Australian wine, one of the few with a true goût de terroir.  Adopting a purposive approach to wine region zoning, if it’s got the same type of terra rossa soil, the wines taste typical of Coonawarra and the vineyards are near Penola, then all things being equal, my view is that it probably should be included in the region.  If the soils and wines typically are different, then all things being equal, including such wines in the region are probably in fairness not doing the region any favours.  Too simple perhaps.

Anyway, what of the wine here?  The 2013 vintage of the Carillon is a blend of cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, cabernet franc and malbec.  It has aromatics that remind of tobacco, cedar, plum and raisin. The palate shows similar characters with medium length and balance.  This is an enjoyable and balanced wine.

Rating: Good, Abv: 14%, Price: $40, Source: sample, Vendors and website: http://stmaryswines.com, Tasted: 2015

St Mary’s Cabernet Sauvignon House Block 2010

This wine rather tastes of a classic, tooth staining Coonawarra.  Yet unexpectedly, Coonawarra does not in fact appear to appear on the label.  Instead, only the substantially wider, and more humble, geographic indication of Limestone Coast is claimed.  To add to the mystique, St Mary’s website refers to the vines as being grown on a terra rossa ridge running through the vineyard, situated 15 kilometres west of Penola.  Thus, we would appear here to have the ingredients of Coonawarra, without the label.  This is a much better state of affairs than the converse.

The wine in the glass has heady aromatics of menthol, vanilla, wood and blackcurrant.   There’s long length on the palate, together with expressions of mint, menthol and resounding blackcurrant again.  Rich and full bodied, this burly wine is matched in power only by its oak maturation, although ultimately the two reconcile.  Overall, this is a structured, flavoursome and full wine that promises a long life ahead.

Rating: Very Good, Abv: 14.5%, Price: $30, Vendors: http://www.wine-searcher.com/, Website: http://stmaryswines.com/, Tasted: 2014